One of the many strengths of the Mediterranean diet is its ability to effortlessly supply a wide range of fibers that support health in manifold ways: nourishing our gut bacteria and helping them produce short-chain fatty acids (Healthline article on nutritional superstars, SCFAs, here), maintaining healthy bowel function, lowering glucose, insulin and LDL cholesterol levels and thereby supporting cardiometabolic health, inducing satiety and thus preventing over-eating, and many more.

Most of us think of fiber as the stratchy stuff in breakfast cereals whose name contains the word “bran.” But while wheat bran supplies a perfectly fine type of fiber, it may not agree with everyone (for instance, people with celiac disease (who are allergic to gluten) or irritable bowel syndrome (who often don’t tolerate the fructans in wheat) ). Moreover, it’s just one of many differnt types of fiber that have many different roles in our body.

Fiber comes in many different guises (and many foods contain more than one type):

  • Soluble & insoluble (soluble fiber dissolves in water while insoluble does not)
  • Viscous (soluble fibers that don’t just dissolve in water but form a semi-solid gel)
  • Functional (iIsolated fiber sources that are added during food processing to improve texture or nutrition)
  • Fermentable (fibers that stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut)
  • Intrinsic (intact fiber that’s part of a plant cell wall, found in whole, unprocessed foods like raw apples, bananas, cucumbers, tomatoes etc.)
  • Prebiotic (a fermentable fiber that selectively promotes the growth of specific bacteria linked to health benefits)

In order to obtain all these different fibers with their different benefits, try to eat a wide variety of plant foods that contain them.

The table below provides an overview of these fibers and their sources, taken from an excellent infographic by respected dietitian Monica Reinagel, RD (click on image below to explore the entire infographic):

So when I taught a webinar on fiber for the Boulder Community Health Cancer Center recently, I decided to create a dish that contained about a third of the fiber most adults need per day (roughly 30-35 g/day, or 10-12 g per meal) and provided several different types of fiber: soluble, functional, fermentable, intrinsic and prebiotic.

That’s a lot more than you could hope to obtain from a fiber supplement — and a lot tastier, too!

This dish can be made vegetarian or vegan by swapping out the protein (for instance, replacing salmon with hard-boiled/poached/fried eggs or tofu); all the other components — lentils, rice, broccolini and tahini dressing — are plant-based.

If you feel intimidated by all the steps the recipe entails, rest assurred that the rice and lentils are completely hands-off and can be made ahead. In fact, grains and legumes become healthier when you cook them and then chill them overnight since this increases the amount of prebiotic (gut-bacteria-nourishing) resistant starch they contain. I often cook larger batches of rice and lentils and refrigerate or freeze these in small containers so I can reheat them quickly as needed.

Broccolini and salmon, meanwhile, take only minutes to prepare. And if you have tahini dressing in your fridge, this meal can come togehter in less than 30 minutes. (And if you don’t, feel free to use a different sauce or dressing to speed things up.)

Lastly, you don’t have to serve this in a bowl — in fact, I prefer spreading my food out on a plate so I can see what I’m eating!

Salmon-Broccoli-Lentil-Rice Bowl with Herbed Tahini Sauce

Keyword: Dairy-Free (or can be), Fish & Seafood, Gluten-Free (or can be), Legumes, Salads, Vegan (or can be), Vegetarian (or can be)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 543kcal
Simple, delicious and packed with fiber
Print Recipe



  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ cup wild rice mix I used Lundberg's Wild Rice Blend
  • cups water
  • ½ tsp salt


  • ½ cup black (a.k.a. beluga) lentils these nutty, black lentils are super crunchy and packed with antioxidants; if you can't find them, any other type of lentil - green, Puy, brown -- works
  • cups water
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 bay leaf


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bunches broccolini about 1 pound; rinse under running water and shake off excess
  • generous pinch each salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced


  • lbs sockeye salmon cut into four equal-sized fillets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil to rub the salmon and grease skillet or grill
  • 1 tbsp shawarma seasoning blend see this recipe

Bowl assembly

  • ½ cup herbed tahini sauce garnish
  • pinch sesame seeds of furikake (an umami-packed sesame-seaweed sprinkle; I love Trader Joes'); garnish


Rice (can be made 1-2 days before & refrigerated)

  • RInse the rice in a sieve and let drain for a minute.
  • Warm oil in a small saucepan and saute the garlic for 30 secnds, stirring, until the garlic softens; don't let it turn brown or it will taste bitter. Add the drained rice and salt and stir to coat the rice with the fragrant oil.
  • Add water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on lowest setting until the rice is al dente (follow packet instructions and check every now and then; at altitude, where I tested this recipe, it took 45 minutes. It may be less at sea level.) Once the rice is done, remove from heat and set aside; keep covered.
  • Time permitting, refrigerate the rice for a few hours or overnight to increase its resistant starch content.

Lentils (can be made 1-2 days before & refrigerated)

  • While the rice is cooking, place the lentils in another small pot and add water, garlic, salt and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer until the lentils are cooked al dente. (Follow packet instructions and check every now and then; at altitude, where I tested this recipe, it took 35 minutes. It may take less time at sea level.) Once the lentils are done, remove from heat and set aside; keep covered.
  • Time permitting, refrigerate the lentils for a few hours or overnight to increase their resistant starch content.

Broccolini (prepare just before serving)

  • Warm olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the broccolini (be warned: there will be much hissing & steam as the freshly rinsed vegetables hit the pan's hot surface). Sprinkle broccolini lightly with salt and pepper, cover and let them steam for 2 minutes.
  • Using kitchen tongs, turn the broccolini over. The bottom sides may be slightly blackened, but that's fine -- adds a delicious caramelized flavor. If all the moisture has evaporated, add 1-2 tbsp water; cover and steam another 2-3 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the chopped garlic over the broccolini and turn a few times iwth the tongs to distribute the garlic and allow it to cook. Saute for 1 more minute, then test the thickest stem with a fork; it should be fairly easy to pierce an retain some bite (al dente).

Salmon (prepare just before serving)

  • Preheat a tabletop grill (this is the one I used) or a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat.
  • Rub the salmon fillets lightly with olive oil. Then sprinkle the flesh side with shawarma seasoning and rub this in so it sticks to the surface of the fish.
  • Place the salmon in the grill/skillet and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of around 125-130F. (Since sockeye salmon fillets are usually quite thin, this can take as little as 2-3 minutes, especially if you're simultaneously grilling it on both sides.)
  • Remove the salmon and place onto a clean plate; cover to keep warm.


  • Serve about ⅓ cup lentils and ⅓ cup rice into the bowl and drizzle with a little of the tahini dressing (or, if you don;t like the green hue, your usual olive oil viaigrette). Toss to coat.
  • Now place ¼ of the cooked broccolini and a freshly cooked salmon filet on top. Drizzle with tahini sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeeds or furikake and serve immediately.


This is not a very low-carb (let alone keto) meal, but with 10 g fiber, 30 g net carbohydrate and a generous amount of protein and healthy fats, it is likely to leave your stomach slowly, thus avoiding a spike in blood glucose and helping you feel full for hours. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 543kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 474mg | Potassium: 923mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2879IU | Vitamin C: 92mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 4mg